Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Envelope Please...Wait, Never Mind

If you have a child over the age of 17, you know that we are about to enter College Season, the time of year when kids suddenly take an unusual interest in the delivery of mail and its contents. It's not that they've suddenly become philatelists (stamp collectors), but rather because they're nervously checking for college acceptance letters, as oppposed to college rejection letters.

For those of you with younger kids, no kids or no interest in or memory of the college application process, it begins in September of their senior year when parents and college advisors start nagging the kids to finish their applications. Then, after many people have written letters and sent in transcripts on the kids' behalf, the waiting game commences. Finally, spring arrives and with it comes the mail. The commonly held belief is that if it's good news, it's a large envelope. If it's bad news, it's a small business-size envelope.

For about 100 high school students, they were given a very pleasant and very misleading surprise this past week. They received, mistakenly, acceptance letters from The University of Georgia. What they were supposed to receive, were letters from the university thanking them for their applications. Huge difference.

If you've ever lived through this experience for yourself or with your child, you know that the process is nerve-wracking, stressful, agonizing and sometimes heartbreaking. No matter how hard you or your child says it doesn't matter, it usually does. Somewhere in a college admissions office, there are people determining your worth to their university. In most cases, it's like the world's longest blind date, but with references.

So here are these 100 kids, some of whom wanted nothing more in life than acceptance to The University of Georgia, only to be told "Oops, you're the victim of a clerical error." Although some of them will eventually get accepted by Georgia, some will not and that will be a very bitter pill to swallow. In fact, Georgia has a very sought-after scholarship program and the typical student accepted has a 3.8 grade point average. There will likely be many kids swallowing this bitter pill.

As a parent, it's hard to say what would be the best way to counsel your child if he or she had received such a letter. Some will try outrage, perhaps calling lawyers into the mix. Others might laugh at the irony of the situation and hope for the best. And others still might use it as evidence that there's no such thing as a sure thing...even when it arrives in a big envelope.

24 Comments:

At 1:27 PM , Blogger Dave said...

To err is human!

Here from Michele's this evening.

 
At 1:54 PM , Blogger utenzi said...

That would be a terrible thing to endure, Karen. As for the big versus small issue, last I knew UGA delivered acceptance letters in regular size envelopes but that might have changed. I got a MA from there a few decades back.

Michele sent me to see you.

 
At 2:00 PM , Anonymous Kismet said...

Been there, done that. Horrifyingly tense.

~K!


Michele sent me....not really but I wanted to check you out :)

 
At 2:16 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

I remember being so nervous for about four months, just waiting for my letters to start coming in. How horrible it must be to have the feeling of acceptance, only to have it taken away.

Here via Michele...and I'm a WI girl originally also...Burlington, WI to be exact...just spreading the Midwest love!

 
At 2:43 PM , Anonymous Claire said...

Oh no, what an awful mistake for them to have made. Those poor kids, I totally empathise.

Here from Michele's.

 
At 2:50 PM , Anonymous knitti-me said...

Nearly 25 years ago, I applied to San Francisco State U, took the entrance exams and waited expectantly. I got the results of my exams and I had failed miserably - in English!

A few months later I got a letter stating that there was a computer error and I passed with flying colors - by that time I had moved on.

 
At 4:42 PM , Blogger kenju said...

What a cruel mistake. I hope the school takes steps to see that nothing like that can ever happen again.

Michele sent me.

 
At 11:52 PM , Blogger owlhaven said...

We are in the midst of our first college season here with our 18 year old, and our almost-16 year old is already getting boatloads of stuff from colleges herself. Interesting post.
mary

 
At 8:23 AM , Blogger Courtney said...

Oh god, my head would have exploded.
Michele sent me.

 
At 8:31 AM , Blogger Chatty said...

I wouldn't want to live through that time in my life again..although I am...my Phd. It's a horrible feeling!

 
At 8:32 AM , Blogger Chatty said...

oops Michele sent me!

 
At 8:39 AM , Blogger Viamarie said...

Nice post. Here from Michele's.

 
At 9:13 AM , Anonymous Nancy said...

What a huge let down for these kids. I hope they can use it as a learning lesson.

 
At 10:49 AM , Blogger Morris said...

Better prepare your child for the sex that awaits at school!

Mr. Morris
Ask Morris

 
At 12:04 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

that would be horrible. I'm so glad it's not me. My sister is going through that whole process right now. But, I'm sure no one will turn her down. She always gets accepted to everything. (unlike myself)

 
At 4:56 PM , Blogger Killired said...

oops!

my dad was a professor at ohio state so when everyone was freaking out where they were going, i knew all along where i was headed!

 
At 4:57 PM , Blogger Killired said...

forgot to tell you that im here from michele's

 
At 5:05 PM , Blogger margalit said...

Woah, that's one big clerical error. I mean, mistakes happen, but the poor kids involved. I thought GA had some kind of deal that if you graduate from a GA high school you can go free to a college or university in GA. Is that true?

Here via Michele.

 
At 5:07 PM , Blogger The Torch Singer said...

wow.....

yes, it is human to make a mistake....that is however quite a big one!

michele sent me..

 
At 6:30 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

Reminds me of the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach I used to get when I waited for the postie to deliver the day's mail.

I think it would serve as a great lesson in life: things don't always go according to plan. Any parent who would bring a lawyer into the fray would be missing a wonderful opportunity to help his/her child grow up.

I'm going to re-read this entry when my little folks are old enough. Wise words, these are.

 
At 11:04 PM , Blogger Shane said...

ah yes, that reminds me, i gotta send in a payment

 
At 11:47 PM , Blogger -E said...

I would have been horrified had that happened. Though, the acceptance letters I wanted most came in small envelopes, so small doesn't always mean bad news.

Michele sent me.

 
At 7:23 AM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

How very difficult that is.

Michele sent me.

 
At 4:18 PM , Blogger kontan said...

what a horrible way to learn a life lesson

here from micheles

 

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